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North Herts
Education Support Centre

Dragons Den

Outstanding PRU wins local Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge

After achieving a third consecutive Outstanding grading from OFSTED, NHESC has continued its successful theme by winning several accolades at the awards evening held at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage last Thursday evening. They were up against several teams of sixth formers from Stevenage schools.

The challenge involved turning £100 into £1000+ for a local charity, by setting up and running a business. The ‘A La Carte’ team were paired with local charity Carers in Herts and a pair of business mentors; Paul and Marie Clinton from On the Green restaurant, Stevenage.

The students planned a series of market stalls, including Jordan’s Mill Christmas Fair and a stall on Hitchin Market, accompanied by Scott Saunders from BBC’s The Apprentice. Christmas Cakes baked in a terracotta pot and decorated with an edible poinsettia decoration were prepared and launched into the Little Deli on Hermitage Road. Tickets were sold for the staff Christmas party which was organised by the student team and included a buffet, live music and a raffle, and one of the teams most successful events was a festive Afternoon Tea held at On the Green, planned and delivered by GCSE Hospitality students.

Awards won include:

  • Best poster/display
  • Most innovative business ideas
  • Most money raised
  • The Overall winning Team.


Quote from Kate Robinson, Head of Business & Enterprise

“These awards are a result of a great team effort and I am so proud of them all. All of the skills learnt during the process made valuable additions to the student CV’s and make great topics of conversation at interviews.”

Quote from Linda Cudmore, Fundraising Lead, Carers in Hertfordshire:

“I was very excited to hear we had been paired up with NHESC for the challenge. Right from my very first meeting with the students, I knew it was going to be a fun and creative few months ahead. I am so very proud of how much they have achieved not only in fundraising an amazing £1,710 but also in planning and delivering so many great events. Events and business activities all take time, effort and hard work, so our team did brilliantly! 

My thanks also goes to the very dedicated Kate Robinson and NHESC who did a great job in supporting the students and the challenge. Going forward, as a charity supporting unpaid carers, Carers in Hertfordshire is looking forward to working with the school to help them identify and support Young Carers within their students but also unpaid carers in the local community.

So to “Team A La Carte” on behalf of all the carers your donation will allow us to support, I want to say a huge well done and thank you very much!

Quote from OFSTED, following NHESC’s 3rd consecutive OUTSTANDING grading:

“You have incorporated business enterprise into your curriculum in a well-thought- out way. For example, pupils’ most recent efforts at a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition meant that they understood the concept of investment and profit, and used marketing techniques to raise £1,700 from a £100 investment.”


Photo details:

(L-R) Marie Clinton (business mentor), Rhyannon Opie, Tylia Levy-Startup, Billie Newman, Lexus Page, Linda Cudmore (Carers in Herts)